The 2016 Olympics, held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, concluded tonight. It was special for India this time with the Indian Olympic Association sending in the nation’s largest ever delegation of 117 athletes. Rio saw some of the most daring Indians this year. The games this time taught the nation to respect its players, with or without medals. The athletes narrated stories that moistened our eyes and made us proud. The nation joined hands against those that shamed these fighters. And what more, these amazing players made some awesome history.
Below are listed some stories that will encourage you, hurt you and make you so proud.
1. Deepika Karmarkar
23-year-old gymnast, who travelled a long journey from practising on soiled mattresses to being one of the most searched people on the Internet today, bagged the fourth position in Women’s Vault Gymnastics at Rio Olympics along with the hearts of millions across the globe.
2. Manish Singh Rawat
A racewalker from Uttarakhand, Manish Singh Rawat, was among the many Indians who struggled their way to Rio to prove their love for the tri-colour. Racewalking is often mocked because of its ‘funny’ style. But who has become a winner without some uphill stride?
3. Dattu Baban Bhokanal
It doesn’t fail to amaze anyone how a person who had his first encounter with a water body only four years ago could row to the 15th position at Olympics. Water sport and Bhokanal’s village Talegaon present a classic example of an oxymoron. But sportsmanship is all about beating the odds, isn’t it?
4. Lalita Babbar
300m steeplechase, a men-only game till 2008, has been conquered by Satara village’s Lalita Babar, the woman who took the idea of competing with oneself quite literally. Breaking her own records each time she runs, has made each Indian sure of a Gold in near future.
5. Sakshi Malik
The girl from Haryana’s Rohtak district broke India’s drought spell at Rio Olympic Games claiming India’s first medal, a bronze, in Women’s freestyle wrestling. This was not only the season’s first medal, but she also
6. Laxmirani Majhi
We have all tried to bring down the king of fruits from the trees using stones, but how many of us could reach the Olympics. Well, Laxmirani Majhi did not just become an ace archer, but also represented India at Rio.
7. Dutee Chand
Athlete Dutee Chand’s name is one all Indians have heard, some for her comparison with PT Usha, and some others because of her challenging attitude that led to a landmark decision by the CAS to suspend the hyperandrogenism regulation for female track and field sports. Anyone who has ever hesitated to claim their rights can hold Chand as their idol.
8. PV Sindhu
Which Indian doesn’t know Sindhu? Or let’s put it down like, who did not gloat in pride when the badminton champ held the Silver medal at the Olympics podium. Although Pusarla comes from a family of athletes, her journey was paved with immense hard work, control and discipline.
9. Prakash Nanjappa
The oldest Indian to qualify for the Rio Olympics, Prakash Nanjappa is one who defied all odds by leaving behind a job in Toronto to shoot. His determination to win can be assessed by the fact that he has battled a paralytic attack.
10. Kavita Raut
ONGC employee, marathon runner, Arjuna awardee, Commonwealth Games winner, Asian Games winner. These are only the few feathers that 30-year-old Kavita Raut holds in her cap. Medal or no-medal, this woman is a winner.
11. Avtar Singh
12. Deepika Kumari
They say, where there is a will, there is a way. The current world number 10 in Archery, Deepika Kumari once practiced using mangoes as targets with her homemade bows and arrows. Humble backgrounds often produce the toughest fighters.
13. Renuka Yadav
The youngest player to qualify for Rio Olympics 2016, Renuka Yadav not only made her state proud by being the first Olympian from Chhattisgarh, but also fought her battle to the Indian Women’s Hockey team.
14. O.P Jaisha
Indian track and field athlete from Kerala, OP Jaisha presents one of those stories of India that would make your heart wrench. A runner, who now makes the nation proud, once survived on mud as her diet. Meet the ideal daughter and a patriot in the truest sense.
While only PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik won medals for India at Rio, numerous athletes of Indian contingent fought hard, braved all odds and battled adversities. They are an inspiratio to the country and we are proud of them.